Tag Archives: romance

Review of Aliens, Smith and Jones (The Primrose Files #1), by Blaine D. Arden

I received a copy of Blaine D. Arden‘s Aliens, Smith and Jones through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Working for a secret organisation specialising in alien cover-ups, Connor Smith is no stranger to the abnormal or dangerous. His love life on the other hand… not so exciting. Until he reluctantly agrees to a blind date and meets the perfect bloke, Jason.

Things are finally falling into place for Connor, so of course that’s when he attracts an alien stalker.

Noah Jones, ex-alien, has been stranded on Earth and forced to live as a human since 1648. Alone and detached from the world around him, Noah has spent centuries observing and recording humankind. In all that time, he’s only experienced a connection with a human once… until he finds Connor.

Even knowing Connor is in a relationship, Noah can’t ignore their potential bond, or stay away.

While dealing with missing alien artefacts, a dangerous and shadowy group of collectors, and the ever-present Noah, Connor finds his orderly life crumbling around him. At least he still has the perfect boyfriend…

When Noah goes missing, Connor is forced to face the feelings growing between them and the mounting evidence that Jason isn’t who he says he is…

I suppose this was ok. It was just painfully predictable, with basic, unexciting writing. The characters were cute, but one of the main characters spent half the book in a relationship with someone else and I barely felt any spark between him and the second main character. Further, there was just too much assuming and non-communicating going on. In fact, a lot of the book is predicated on it and it didn’t make any sense to me. All in all, I found the whole thing uninspiring, even if not quite bad.

Review of Once Upon a Haunted Moor, by Harper Fox

I bought an Audible copy of Harper Fox‘s Once Upon a Haunted Moor.

Description from Goodreads:
Gideon Frayne has spent his whole working life as a policeman in the village of Dark on Bodmin Moor. It’s not life in the fast lane, but he takes it very seriously, and his first missing-child case is eating him alive. When his own boss sends in a psychic to help with the case, he’s gutted – he’s a level-headed copper who doesn’t believe in such things, and he can’t help but think that the arrival of clairvoyant Lee Tyack is a comment on his failure to find the little girl.

But Lee is hard to hate, no matter how Gideon tries. At first Lee’s insights into the case make no sense, but he seems to have a window straight into Gideon’s heart. Son of a Methodist minister, raised in a tiny Cornish village, Gideon has hidden his sexuality for years. It’s cost him one lover, and he can’t believe it when this green-eyed newcomer stirs up old feelings and starts to exert a powerful force of attraction.

Gideon and Lee begin to work together on the case. But there are malignant forces at work in the sleepy little village of Dark, and not only human ones – Gideon is starting to wonder, against all common sense, if there might be some truth in the terrifying legend of the Bodmin Beast after all. As a misty Halloween night consumes the moor, Gideon must race against time to save not only the lost child but the man who’s begun to restore his faith in his own heart.

I finished this several days ago and forgot to write my review. I quite enjoyed it. Granted, it’s a novella, so not as developed as I might have liked. Gideon and Lee’s attraction isn’t instant, but it’s pretty close. But I’ll forgive the story the lack of relationship development because I like Fox’s writing style so much. I have a tad more trouble forgiving the cliched motive of the villain. I really  was disappointed in it because it’s been seen so often before. But all in all, the story was lovely and Tim Gilbert did a great job with the narration.

Review of Crossing in Time, by D. L. Orton

I won an Audible copy of Crossing in Time (by D.L. Orton) through AudaVoxx.

Description from Goodreads:
Race against the clock through a dystopian nightmare. Climb naked into an untested time machine (carrying only a seashell and a promise). Wake up twenty years younger on a tropical beach, buck naked and mortally wounded, with your heart in your throat.

This is a journey of love, loss, and redemption that will make your pulse gallop and your palms sweat, have you laughing out loud through your tears, and leave you flush with the sublime pleasure of falling in love.

Look, I simply did not like this book. I’ll admit that the editing seems fine. (I listened to the audio, so I wouldn’t know if there are a lot of copy edit mistakes, but it sounded structurally competent.) But the farther into it I got the more I hated it, until I simply had to force myself to finish it. I would literally dread pushing play, too afraid of what new shit way the book would find to piss me off. Yes, I’m serious with that attitude. I hated this book.

Before I get into why, let me pause and be positive about the narrators. They both did a marvelous job, Noah Michael Levine especially. Erin deWard did a good job too, but the choice to voice Isabel sounding so desperate all the time only exacerbated my problem with her. But that was a style choice, not a quality problem. The narration is good.

Now back to the negative. It’s all freakin’ negative from here and there will be SPOILERS. I’m going to start with the romance, or lack there of. Two people (ex lovers) accidentally run into each other after not seeing one other for 15 years. They go to dinner, have a fight (about their past), she walks out. There’s a bit of drama requiring him to rescue her from a burning building and he asks her to marry him before they get out. That’s the romance and we’re suppose to believe it’s the romance to end all romances. Meant to be and all that jazz.

Here’s my issue. First, it’s 100% unrealistic. Yes, this is fantasy/sci-fi, but people change a lot in 15 years and this isn’t addressed. Two, if it’s so perfect they wouldn’t have given it up so easily 15 years earlier and/or would have made contact before 15 years passed. And he apparently had her cell number the whole time. It didn’t change. (And don’t think I’m not seriously side-eyeing someone having the same cell phone number for 15 years. Anyone remember what cells were like in 2000?) Three, as a reader I felt cheated out of seeing them get to know each other and fall in love. I suspect Orton meant for the reader to feel this in the second time-line, but I 100% DID NOT. Because that was not romantic either. That was Isabel being incompetent and Diego being unbelievably sway-able.

Now let me move on to my big issue. Diego was lovely, too wonderful actually. But you can’t help but like him. Isabel however was cliched beyond belief. Let me tell you her role in this book (and this just off the top of my head). She almost dies saving a kitten (not even her kitten, just a random kitten) and has to be saved from being burned and crushed in a fire. She gets stabbed. She gets septic. She almost gets raped (and turns out to probably actually have a history of being raped). She essentially gets kidnapped by her ex-husband. She almost dies in a miscarriage and she gets sick and almost dies from traveling through dimensions. And I lost count of how many times she was either in debilitating pain or confused because she’s barely conscious. She was the perpetual victim. I hated her. Or rather I hated that Orton could come up with no better role for her than to be the victim that spurs Diego into action.

Their love is supposed to save the multi-verse. But Diego gets to go through to another world and retrieve a vaccine, bring it back and save millions. Isabel? She gets to travel through dimensions to teach Diego to be a better lover to her apparently unstable future self. How do I feel about that? Fuck you Orton. Isabel was supposed to be a smart scientist. She never does anything intelligent in the entire book. She’s too busy navel gazing and being cliche.

Speaking of science, it’s all hand waving. I actually think calling this science fiction is almost a stretch.

I find myself in a difficult position now. I think I won this audio book and I have the second book too. I feel obligated to listen to it. But considering how much I hated this one, I just don’t want to.

On an amusing side note, I had to call the fraud department of one of my charge cards this morning and the person I spoke to (Tomeo) had a lovely accent that sounded very much like how Noah voiced Diego. It was quite charming and made me smile.